Life Update

Since last we spoke things went to hell in a hand basket, and I will spare you the details (mostly because they're not my details to share.)  I'm slowly, cautiously poking my head above the trenches to see whether it gets shot off or not, but so far, so good.

On the bra front (and who cares about the bra back) I've managed to get rid of about a dozen.  Which still leaves me with 37 -- is that possible?  I must persevere.

And I'm writing, but it's coming slowly because my rotator cuff issue makes typing difficult.  so I write longhand, dictate with Dragon, then go in and correct all the mistakes (though each version of Dragon gets better and better.

Hmmm.  I want a hero named Drago.  Such a cool name.  I think it belongs to a dissolute Italian count.  Oh, I already wrote a dissolute Italian count.  

I've made a number of discoveries in the past few weeks:

1.  Reading bad writing is so depressing it makes you stop wanting to write.  I'm reading some pretty painful RITA entries and it's having a bad effect on my motivation.

2.  However, I'm reading Jay Crownover's Better When He's Wild (I think that's the title -- it's about Race) and it's inspiring me, making my own characters feel more alive.  I think in the future I should only read terrific books like this one.

3.  Root canals DO still hurt.  They just hurt for a couple of days afterwards, not during the actual procedure.

4.  It's more painful when a member of the family goes through a hard time than when you go through a hard time.  I'm finally able to sleep at night.

5.  It's hard when I don't have anyone around to go "there, there" and make me feel better.

6.  It's hard to be facing our 40th wedding anniversary (on the first, Roger Daltrey's birthday) and not only can we not go on our much delayed honeymoon, but we can't even go out for dinner.  As for replacing my wedding ring and getting one for Richie -- don't make me laugh.  However, a great marriage is a lot more important than gold rings and trips to Hawaii or the Caribbean, so I won't whine.  Much.

That's pretty good for two weeks or so (well, number 6 isn't good but my mother was a martyr so I don't want to be).  And besides, I've got a terrific book to read, and that makes most of the bad stuff go away.  After all, that's why I read, and write.  To make the bad stuff go.

Anyone read something fabulous that banished your demons?

Bra Progress

Well, i'm progressing slowly with the bra decluttering.   I tossed the belly dancing costume (sigh -- I still have the skirt with like ten yards of chiffon and anyway, who wants to see a 67 year old belly dancer?  Then again, I've seen an ancient female flamenco dancer and she was cool as hell). I found I have 7 of my favorite bras, so I can't give up those, I have three leopard print bras, two with underwires, so I'm wearing them to see how comfortable they are.  The one without wires made the grade (and it's purple!) so now I'm wearing the the beige one

Aiyeee!!!!!!!!  I tried to take a picture of me in the bra, with all other parts decently covered, and there were these two massive, leopard cantaloups.  Oh, the horror!  You're going to have to miss my modeling.  I may have to toss this one just for the PTSD of seeing that photo.

I've tossed three front closing bras, and I'm trying to be tough but damn, it's hard, particularly when we're dealing with a family crisis as we speak.  I'll explain about that after it's dealt with, but God knows, it ain't easy.

However, through it all I am writing.  Usually up in the bedroom, long hand, though I did do some work straight into the computer over the weekend.  Since then I've gotten up at 5 or 6 in the morning, gone downstairs and started writing longhand in my Clairfontaine notebook (yes, I'm one of those tiresome writers who swears by her Clairefontaine).  I use a fountain pen nowadays and the ink just flows over the elegant paper, making it much less painful on the hands.  Nevertheless last night my right hand was aching and I had no idea why.  It wasn't until I started writing at 5:10 am that it struck me.  However I have nice warming mitts I can put in the microwave to soothe them, and I'll do exercises in between.  The problem with the rotator cuff is it hurts to be in my usual writing position (in a recliner with the laptop on a lap desk) and I haven't found an alternative.  So long hand it is, and the book seems to be demanding it.

My plan is to attempt to write two books at a time, which is tricky, but I'm hoping with the long hand it'll be easier to do.  Writing long-hand gives you an enforced intimacy with your work (whereas dictating straight into the machine, which I've found I've been able to do, gives an enforced distance).  So the plan is to work my ass of during the week on the book with the deadline, and work my ass off on the weekend with Brandon and Emma.  I always liked to alternate romantic suspense with historical, though I did them back to back.   Maybe I can do them back to back during the week and weekend.  Otherwise I'll finish this one (the second FIRE book nee American ICE) and then finish up Brandon and Emma right afterwards, while I'm waiting for all the diddly shit stuff we have to do, like revisions and page proofs and cover copy and stuff.  Well, it's not diddly shit, but I consider anything that's not putting new words down on paper (or actually the computer screen) to be fake work.  The only real work is creating new stuff.  A weird head set, when all that other stuff (particularly revisions) is so important, but there you go.

So I've already written 6 pages long hand, drank my coffee, had a shower, sewed the gathering stitches on the ruffle and the waist of the doll dress I'm making, dealt with psychiatrists (not mine) and written to you guys.

Lesson for today.  Do not take a picture of your boobs in a leopard skin bra and put it on the internet.  Lesson number two -- keep writing, no matter how bad things are in the household, no matter what the crisis. 

Lesson number three -- try to enjoy yourself anyway (the gathering stitches on the doll clothes, e.g.).  And don't dive head first into chocolate or whatever your drug of choice is, no matter how tempted.

So saith the Wise Woman of romance writing (or at least one of the longest-lived).  Jane Krentz, Jennifer Blake and Ann Maxwell have been writing a little bit longer then me, but not much, and I, the all-knowing Trash Heap from Fraggle Rock, feel wise enough to pass on my learning).

So make sure today's work includes having fun, no matter what kind of crisis you're in.  If I can do it between tears then so can you.

DECLUTTER TWO BOOBS AT A TIME

So the sad truth about my bra situation is I had 49 bras stuffed in the that drawer.  Well, 48 and I was wearing one.  So Pat Ocain on Facebook won the ARC.  I figure I'll cut that number in half first, and go down to 22.  Then, after much reflection, I'll cut it down to ten since that seems to be a reasonable number, taking all the comments into account.  Somewhere between 7 and 10.

I think women have too many bras because we don't tend to try them on, and there's that line about 80% of all women wear the wrong size bra.  Of course if you go get measured then they bring you in $85 Wacoal bras to find the perfect fit and you feel like you'd better buy one since they went to all that trouble, so no measuring for me yet.  I will get it done -- I just have to get rid of the current bras first.

I'll sort by color, then, by comfort.  But before I start in on that, you get the photo of my best bra ever.  Back when I was in my early 20's and living in New York I took belly dancing lessons, which is one of the best things I ever did. It made me friends with my body, and from then on I could dance.  So of course I had to have the costume.  Someone on 10th avenue made the skirt and veil for me (the skirt exists somewhere-- my daughter used to love to dress up in it) and I just found the rest of the costume, a belt made with heavy interfacing, covered with shiny fabric and draped in beads, and the top, which started with a padded bra that you cut apart and used the cups as the basis, to cover with shiny fabric and drape with beads as well.  Here's what's left of them some 55 years later after a lot of the beads fell off (they draped across my relatively flat midriff).

 

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I'll report back on my success.  Then on to the next bit of decluttering.  I'll be brutal and toss this relic of my past (coz god knows I'll never fit it again) and continue to sort things. In the meantime, I get to curl up and write for a bit before I start on The Great Bra Purge.

Ten is reasonable, right?  Can you donate bras?

Decluttering One Bite at a Time

So my house looks like something out of hoarders and we're trying to sell it and move across the country.  No small task, and at times I just want to sit down and weep.  I was raised by wolves, as Jenny would say, so I have no idea how many bras a normal woman would have.

Mind you, my bra size doesn't change much no matter how much weight I gain or lose (which is a fairly constant thing -- or can change be constant?  My weight fluctuations certainly are).  Almost all my bras are the same size -- okay, I confess, 42C.  I have some 40Cs from when I'm a little thinner, and I've experimented with 42Ds and 40Ds.  And I'm certainly not going to get a bra fitting and throw out all these bras.

What I need to figure is a reasonable number of bras a woman should have, double that, and throw out the rest.  I'm someone who almost always wears a bra -- they're not uncomfortable (a few of them might be, but I try to avoid them).

So here's your task.  Take a look at this picture and guess how many bras I have.  There are a few pairs of tights in the drawer, and a couple of camisoles, and the drawer is shallow, but add in two or three in the wash or just lying around the bedroom.

Too many brassiere

Whoever comes closest to the right number wins a brand new ARC of CONSUMED BY FIRE, the first book in the FIRE series, the American off-shoot of the ICE series.

I'm guessing 30, but I'm probably way overestimating.

Not only do you need to guess, you need to tell me how many I should reasonably have.  I have front clasps, back clasps, underwire, no underwire, soft spandex in bright colors, structured and padded ones in animal prints, minimizers and even long-line corset type things.

Somebody help me.  I'm drowning in bras!

Podcasts

Podcast is the most miserable word.  I realize it comes from iPod and broadcast, but for the life of me I can never remember it.  I've listened to a few over the years -- Jenny Crusie and Lani Diane Rich did a series on movies called the Popcorn Dialogues, which were fascinating even if I ended up disagreeing with one or the other or both.  And of course the phenomenal success of Serial has taken everyone by surprise.  Podcasts can be anything -- I wonder if there are erotic podcasts.  Probably.  There are erotic everythings.

I've only done podcasts a couple of times, mostly with the help of my good friend Lani Diane Rich aka Lucy March.  She's brilliant with technology, having worked in television for a good number of years and taught it at the college level.  She used to have a great one called Will Write For Wine, where she and a friend talked about writing while they tippled, and much hilarity ensued.  

Nowadays she and her adorable Scottish husband Alastair, who is a Stuart and therefore my vassal (he's accepted his duties) are doing a number of great podcasts.  One, which is perfect for them, is called The Scot and the Sassenach, about Outlander, a subject they're very well suited for, though with Alastair living here he's really the Outlander.  He even comes from Inverness, the town where Outlander begins.  They're also doing DUSTED, about Buffy, the legend of whom shall never die (the image of Buffy and Spike will never die), and the Lightbulb, a pop culture podcast.  As if that weren't enough, they run Storywonk, one of the best book servicing organizations around, plus Lani teaches part time at SUNY.  And they're raising two adolescent daughters, God help them.

I can't recommend them highly enough.  I was listening to Dusted, and I emailed and asked Lani for links so I could pass them along.  Here's what she said:

StoryWonk is where story experts take on pop culture. Right now, we're producing The Scot and the Sassenach, an Outlander podcast; Dusted, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast; and The Light Bulb, a pop-culture podcast. And there are more slated for the future, including the StoryWonk Seminar, which delves specifically into books, giving the full literary dissection treatment to books that deserve that treatment, but usually don't get it. (Right now, we're reading Outlander as part of The Scot and the Sassenach, but you can influence the next Seminar pick here, but go fast - voting closes on Tuesday!) More podcasts are coming soon!

I need to go visit and have them teach me more about podcasting.  In fact, I need to take my spanking new expensive microphone and have them show me how I could do an audio version of one of my novellas, just to see whether it could fly.  I have acting experience and a decent voice, so it's worth a shot, particularly in novella length, and they live in a town in upstate NY that's the equivalent of Stars Hollow (in Gilmore Girls) which would be wonderful to visit.  If I ever find the time and if it ever stops snowing and if my right arm ever feels better.

ITunes has podcasts on anything you could possibly want.  Storywonk's a great start, and then branch out further.  We all spend so much damned time in cars nowadays, and books are sometimes too much of a commitment. There's a cornucopia out there, if only you look.

Try a podcast.  You'll like it.